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Give in to the seductions of Basilicata and Puglia, Italy—awash in coastal and mountain landscapes and stone-carved villages—on this sublime walking tour.

In the hidden rural corners of Basilicata and along the spectacular coast of Puglia, Italy, locals love their passaggiate—leisurely strolls—and it’s easy to see why. Soothing waters shimmer in Adriatic and Ionian waters. Whitewashed villages cut from stone hug the surf-lashed coast and blanket the fertile countryside. And striking landscapes of soaring limestone peaks and river-cut ravines make for some sublime passaggiate of your own. On this stunning walking tour into the heart of two of Italy’s most scenic regions, you’ll follow the paths of ancient farmers and pilgrims, passing olive groves, undulating vineyards, old shepherd settlements, and rock-hewn churches. Marvel at fairy-tale trullo architecture. Meet dedicated artisans who keep local heritage alive. Savor the tantalizing flavor creations of farm-to-fork chefs. And stay in a luxuriously converted cave dwelling, an elegant palace, and a refined masseria farmhouse.

Highlights

  • Tour the magical stone city of Matera with a local guide who brings its rich culture to life.
  • Stroll into the whitewashed village of Alberobello, and savor wine and traditional snacks at an enoteca fashioned from one of the region’s beehive-shaped trulli.
  • Savor the breathtaking mountain views as much as the regional dishes when you join our friend Antonietta for lunch at her magnificent Castelmezzano restaurant.
  • Unwind poolside, a glass of primitivo in hand, at an authentic Apulian masseria, or farmhouse, near the enchanting coastal town of Otranto.
  • Walk the final stretch of the via Francigena—the “road from France”—to the southernmost point of Puglia at Santa Maria di Leuca.
On all Guided Adventures you can count on...
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Expert local guides to introduce you to the best of your destination
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Off-the-beaten-path places you’d never find on your own
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Delicious multi-course meals—a majority are included
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A maximum of 18 fun-loving fellow travelers to share the journey
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Gracious accommodations that are a clean, comfortable home away from home
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Experts to handle all the details
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Flight + Tour Combos include plane tickets, airport shuttles, and pre- and post-tour accommodations

Itinerary

Sun, May 8 to Tue, May 17 - 2022

Show Itinerary:

All you have to do is get to the airport. On our Flight + Tour Combos, we’ll take care of the rest, handling all the logistics, so you can travel with peace of mind. Spend your first night aloft and arrive refreshed for an unforgettable trip.

A Country Walkers representative will greet you at the airport to start your adventure off right. A complimentary car service will whisk you to your conveniently located hotel in Monopoli. From here, you are perfectly positioned to explore this charming city at your leisure.

Accommodation: Dimora Don Ferrante, Monopoli, Italy

Parco Regionale della Murgia Materana; 3-5 miles, easy to moderate and Matera guided walking tour; 2 miles, easy

Upon meeting in Monopoli, you travel 75-90 minutes to Basilicata, the only region in Italy with two names. Until 1945, this dramatically scenic and tranquil agrarian area was called Lucania. Today, locals still consider themselves – and their deeply traditional cuisine – Lucanian rather than Basilicatan. This morning’s trailhead is in the Parco Regionale della Murgia Materana. This magnificent park fed by the Bradano River and the minor streams of Gravina and Jesce hosts a wide diversity of flora and fauna: its 1,200 botanical species comprise one-sixth of the nation’s and one-third of the region’s in just over 17,000 acres. Foxes, hares, porcupines, and wild boars and cats roam the area as birds of prey like the Lanner falcon, Egyptian vulture, and lesser Kestrel take wing overhead.

Our first day of walking transports you back in time. Follow a trail along the rim of the Gravina River Canyon, passing through mystical abandoned caves and hushed ghost villages. Along the way, you also come upon the primitive-looking jazzi – communal settlements where shepherds lived with their livestock well into the 20th century. But what might take your breath away the most are the spectacular rock-carved cave churches known as chiese rupestri.

Later, stroll into the Neolithic village of Murgia Timone. Pause for lunch here at a restored jazzo, savoring locally made antipasti such as salami with fennel, Lampascioni sundried tomatoes, local cheeses (pecorino, caciocavallo, and caprino), fresh pasta with tomatoes, crushed pepper and ricotta or crapiata, a rustic native multi-bean soup named for the Latin word for drunkenness! Top off the meal with a ricotta mousse with flecks of hazelnut and chocolate. This is Lucanian dining at its purest.

After, walk to the Belvedere, or lookout. This is where the crucifixion scene was shot in the Passion of the Christ, and it provides a spectacular view of Matera and the adjacent plunging ravine. After time to take in this dramatic vista, retrace your steps to Murgia Timone, where you can get a lift to the hotel. Or continue to your accommodation by foot, crossing the famed Ponte Tibetano, the Tibetan Bridge, a thrilling board-and-rope span across the Gravina River.

Soon, you are surrounded by the striking landscape of Matera. This is the Sassi (literally, “the Stones”) a dense cluster of yellow-white structures that seem to emerge from the earth. Within this starkly beautiful canvas, you walk among typical dwellings, soaring cathedrals, and cavernous edifices. It’s easy to see how it became a stand-in for ancient Jerusalem in the film The Passion of the Christ.

After settling in to your luxury Matera hotel – an albergo diffuso spread out across several cave dwellings carved into the tuff rock – get acquainted with the city during a walking tour with a local guide. This remarkable city is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, a fascinating blend of old and new. Its labyrinthine streets lead you past ancient stone sassi structures and modern buildings. Stroll through the charming Piazza Duomo, admiring modest dwellings and monumental landmarks, including the cathedral of San Pietro Caveoso and the 13th-century Romanesque cathedral. As you explore you learn about the lifestyle of the former cave residents, such as the “open door” attitude that extended a welcome to all. Courtyards and a maze of alleyways lead to the cathedral, from where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Sasso Barisano.

Back at the hotel, enjoy a welcome aperitivo on the terrace, taking in the sassi’s incomparable architectural profile. Then savor a special seasonal dinner and a glass or two of the native primitivo wine.

Accommodation: Sant’Angelo Luxury Resort, Matera
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

2 miles, easy to moderate, 620-ft. elevation gain and loss and 2.5 miles, moderate, 1,000-ft. elevation gain and 450-ft. loss

Awaken to a generous breakfast of cheeses and other local delicacies, an assortment of yogurts, cereals, juices, fresh-baked breads and pastries, fruit, and, of course, cappuccino!

After a brief walk through the maze of alleyways of Matera, you arrive in the town center where you begin a scenic drive to the Dolomiti Lucane – the southern Dolomites. Amidst this otherworldly setting, you first stop in Castelmezzano. Listed as one of Italy’s most beautiful hamlets, it enjoys a dramatic setting, wedged in a cradle-like basin at the foot of soaring, needle-like massifs. Here, you trace an easygoing circuit around this typical medieval village. Magnificent mountain views accompany you throughout this unforgettable walk.

Make your way to the panoramic terrace of our friend and accomplished chef/restaurateur Antonietta. Antonietta embraces fresh, regional ingredients and the local wild harvest of herbs in her preparations, all inspired by her two muses: her mother and her grandmother. Depending on what’s fresh, you might savor homemade cavatelli pasta with crispy-fried peppers (peperoni cruschi) or local cardoncelli mushrooms. No matter what’s in season, your lunch will be a meal to remember—regional dishes served alfresco and accompanied by grandiose mountain views and perhaps a glass of delicious ficotto, or fig wine.

This afternoon, you follow the Sentiero delle Sette Pietre, the Trail of Seven Stones. This ancient shepherd path links Castelmezzano to its neighboring village across the ravine, Pietrapertosa, requiring a descent and ascent as you make your way to the highest town in Basilicata. Along the way, you pass seven outdoor art exhibits that evoke the magic of this unique region.

A cold birra alla spina (draft beer) or bicchieri di vino bianco might be your drink of choice to reward your efforts at a local café. There’ll be time to explore Pietrapertosa, navigating the stairways that wind their way past medieval houses and to the hilltop castle. Later, you return to Matera to enjoy an evening of independent exploring and dining with recommendations from your guides.

Accommodation: Sant’Angelo Luxury Resort, Matera
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

5 miles, easy

Today you leave the cultural richness of Matera behind and travel to the lush Valle d’Itria in central Puglia. Blanketed with vineyards and olive groves, the valley is dotted with hundreds of trulli, curious stone structures used by Apulian farmers of centuries past. The buildings feature circular, whitewashed walls and cone-shaped roofs; they were originally constructed without mortar so as to make the structures temporary (an ancient tax loophole!). These “beehives” compel close examination—notably, look for the Paleo-Christian good-luck symbols painted on the roofs.

You reach your trailhead near the 6th-century church of San Pietro in Barsento, a neighboring town of Alberobello. A picturesque walk leads through green pastures, woodland, and along country lanes flanked by stone walls and seemingly endless olive groves and trulli. Soon, you arrive in the village of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage site whose streets are literally packed with trulli. One of these historic beehive buildings has been transformed into an inviting enoteca; you stop by to meet Gino, who offers a wine tasting, freshly baked focaccia, and some traditional Apulian snacks.

Lunch is on your own in this fairy-tale town; your guides will orient you to the layout before you explore. Perhaps head to Piazza del Popolo, or People’s Square, to sample a plate of the region’s homemade orecchiette pasta with turnip tops. While here, it’s worthwhile to seek out the town’s hand-woven linens, filet lace, and ceramics at the charming artisanal boutiques. You might also visit the church of St. Anthony, which shares the trulli architectural aesthetic.

After, you journey to the “white city” of Ostuni, so nicknamed for its whitewashed buildings. After settling in to your hotel, step out with your guides for an aperitivo and an introduction to this hilltop town overlooking the Adriatic. For dinner on your own, perhaps dine at one of their favorite osterias along the route. Or, enjoy a relaxing late afternoon at the hotel’s spa, followed by dinner at the hotel’s bistrot.

Accommodation: Ostuni Palace, Ostuni
Included Meals: Breakfast

5 miles, easy

This morning, take some time to linger over a leisurely breakfast. There’ll be time to step out and explore Ostuni’s captivating medieval center, admiring its largest buildings: the dramatic 15th-century Ostuni Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace. Other palazzi stand as legacies to an array of aristocratic families that have made their mark on the town. Perhaps find some locally crafted ceramics as mementoes.

Departing mid-morning, you travel south toward the medieval port of Otranto, your home for the next three nights. En route, stop at an estate near Uggiano la Chiesa in a peaceful oasis blanketed by olive groves and Mediterranean macchia, or scrub. Visit the award-winning passion project of sisters Giulia and Lucia Starace. Here, a team of dedicated weavers work to keep textile arts alive in the 21st century by educating local children about a traditional craft and responsible culture. While here, you walk past bushes of myrtle, holm oaks, wild orchids and one of the oldest beehives in the region. Enjoy a demonstration at the weaving cooperative, recently tapped to contribute to the cruise collection of Parisian fashion house Dior. After, delight in a delicious lunch on the grounds of this pretty estate.

Depart on foot for an easy afternoon walk into the Bronze Age. Your destination is Italy’s megalithic garden in and around neighboring Giurdignano. Home to more than 25 standing-stone menhir and dolmen, the site provides remarkable insight into an often forgotten past. Continue your exploration with a visit to an underground olive mill, built in the 16th century, and the 8th-century crypt of San Salvatore, adorned with remarkably preserved 13th-century frescoes.

Your walk culminates at a beautiful whitewashed masseria just outside Otranto, Enjoy an aperitivo upon arrival, accompanied by typical Salentino snacks. Dinner is on your own this evening; a shuttle is provided into town or you may opt to dine in the masseria’s restaurant.

Accommodation: Masseria Muntibianchi, Otranto
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

8 miles, easy to moderate, 560-ft elevation gain and 550-ft elevation loss

After another hearty breakfast, you travel to Otranto’s harbor and the trailhead for today’s exploration. Italy’s easternmost city, Otranto enjoys a scenic location on the Strait of Otranto, which connects the Adriatic and Ionian seas. Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans and Aragonese have all called this port their own and left their marks on this remarkable city.

This morning’s walking route follows the rocky shores of the Adriatic past rugged coves and caves. Along these coastal cliffs, your progress is marked by the region’s aromatic Mediterranean macchia shrubs and ancient watchtowers – evidence of the defenses erected against Turkish invasions. The stark rocky landscape along the sparkling sea delivers you to a fascinating abandoned bauxite quarry. The stone mined here was once ferried as far away as Venice for construction of that once-great republic. Today, the quarry resembles a lake in a deep basin of deep-red walls – hence its local name, Red Lake.

You continue your walk to the whitewashed Punta Palascia lighthouse, arriving in time for lunch. A picnic spread of local delicacies awaits you in this scenic locale. Savor pizza rustica, frittata, local cheeses like caciocavallo, fresh fruit, and local almond sweets in your gorgeous seaside “dining room.”

After, continue on foot or by minibus to Porto Badisco, a charming bay whose clear turquoise waters and white-sand floor invite you for a swim. Virgil famously claimed that this sheltered beach was the site of Aeneas’s first landing after he escaped from Troy.

We return to our masseria, where there’ll be time to relax poolside or treat yourself to a massage before dinner at a nearby osteria. This is a true farm-to-table alfresco experience, and sure to be a highlight of your adventure. The chef here emphasizes the wild herbs of Puglia in dishes such as chicory and fava beans, eggplant parmigiana, and fettucine with shallots and pork cheek. For dessert, you might enjoy lemon mousse with mint and licorice. It’s all complemented by a generous selection of local wines, perhaps bianco verdeca or the deep-red native primitivo.

Accommodation: Masseria Muntibianchi, Otranto
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

2 miles, easy to moderate and 5 miles, easy to moderate, 530-ft. elevation loss

On today’s walk, you trace routes of historical and environmental importance through the Regional Natural Coastal Park of Costa Otranto Santa Maria di Leuca Bosco di Tricase. After breakfast, journey to Marina di Novaglie to begin your uniquely rewarding day. As you begin, you follow a trail along the sea, passing the typical Salento pajare along the way. These dry-stone structures, like the trulli of Alberobello, might have had their origins as temporary shelters, agricultural storehouses, or dwellings for farm workers.

Your morning destination is Ponte Ciolo, or Ciolo’s Bridge. The town may have been named for the Salentino dialect ciole, or magpies, which are ubiquitous in the region. Several botanical rarities – from Mediterranean onion species to ferns, flowers and several types of orchids – call this scenic place home, too. Ponte Ciolo gracefully straddles a narrow coastal inlet that has carved out numerous sea caves. Fossils, including those of rhinoceros, and ceramics dating to the Neolithic and the Paleolithic periods, have been found in these remarkable grottoes. You have the option to venture down into the Grotta delle Cipolliane. Though the excursion is not for everyone – it requires negotiating rocks and numerous steps – your effort will be rewarded by being able to dip your toes in the sea. During your time in this scenic enclave, enjoy a break to relax and swim if you wish. There’ll be time for a simple lunch on your own.

Two options await after lunch. You may journey to Santa Maria di Leuca to view the spot where the Adriatic and Ionian seas swirl together. Or continue on foot along the southernmost section of the Via Francigena to Leuca. This ancient pilgrim’s route (it translates into “the road from France”) stretches from Canterbury, England to Rome, then continues to Puglia, where pilgrims once continued to the Holy Land by boat. Centuries of other visitors – including traders, pirates, and invaders – have also shaped the history and culture of Capo di Leuca. Upon arrival, you can visit an important religious sanctuary above the town’s harbor – the Basilica de Finibus Terrae, which translates to “basilica at the end of the earth,” an apt term for this seaside outpost at the end of the empire. Back at your masseria, there’ll be time to relax before the evening meal.

For your final dinner together, you are welcomed at the hotel’s alfresco restaurant with a glass of sparkling prosecco. Settle in for a memorable meal that features the seasonal bounty of the region. Your first course, or primo piatto, may be a creamy troccoli, a pasta with cuttlefish and black chickpea cream, or risotto with violet shrimp of Gallipoli, pistachios, and pesto, perhaps followed by the catch of the day grilled to perfection. It’s the ideal way to toast your discovery of the beauty and magic of Basilicata and Puglia.

Accommodation: Masseria Muntibianchi, Otranto
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Departing shortly after breakfast, you stop in the port of Otranto for an hour-long walking tour with your guide. This stunning coastal city boasts a spectacular waterfront and a fascinating medieval past. The city’s highlight is Otranto Cathedral’s enormous, 8,611-square-foot floor mosaic representing the Tree of Life, created by a monk in 1163. Afterward, enjoy free time to explore local craft studios selling clay whistles, baskets, hand-dyed fabric, and ceramics. Then travel to an organic farm and receive a warm welcome from the owner Lina. Her “Estate of the Five Saints” produces several of the region’s cheeses—ricotta, stracchino, burrata, caciocavallo, and others. See how mozzarella is made during a demonstration, then savor a lunch of pasta and a few of their cheeses, complemented by a glass of crisp white wine.

Journey finally to Lecce, the “Florence of the South.” Bid farewell to your Country Walkers guides at the Patria Palace Hotel, and the remainder of the day is yours to uncover the wonders of this remarkable city. Dinner is on your own. We provide detailed city information to help you plan your stay.

Accommodation: Patria Palace Hotel, Lecce
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After an included breakfast this morning, complimentary transportation is provided to Brindisi International Airport based on your departure time.

Accommodation: Patria Palace Hotel, Lecce
Included Meals: Breakfast

Tue, May 10 to Mon, May 16 - 2022

Show Itinerary:

Parco Regionale della Murgia Materana; 3-5 miles, easy to moderate and Matera guided walking tour; 2 miles, easy

Upon meeting in Monopoli, you travel 75-90 minutes to Basilicata, the only region in Italy with two names. Until 1945, this dramatically scenic and tranquil agrarian area was called Lucania. Today, locals still consider themselves – and their deeply traditional cuisine – Lucanian rather than Basilicatan. This morning’s trailhead is in the Parco Regionale della Murgia Materana. This magnificent park fed by the Bradano River and the minor streams of Gravina and Jesce hosts a wide diversity of flora and fauna: its 1,200 botanical species comprise one-sixth of the nation’s and one-third of the region’s in just over 17,000 acres. Foxes, hares, porcupines, and wild boars and cats roam the area as birds of prey like the Lanner falcon, Egyptian vulture, and lesser Kestrel take wing overhead.

Our first day of walking transports you back in time. Follow a trail along the rim of the Gravina River Canyon, passing through mystical abandoned caves and hushed ghost villages. Along the way, you also come upon the primitive-looking jazzi – communal settlements where shepherds lived with their livestock well into the 20th century. But what might take your breath away the most are the spectacular rock-carved cave churches known as chiese rupestri.

Later, stroll into the Neolithic village of Murgia Timone. Pause for lunch here at a restored jazzo, savoring locally made antipasti such as salami with fennel, Lampascioni sundried tomatoes, local cheeses (pecorino, caciocavallo, and caprino), fresh pasta with tomatoes, crushed pepper and ricotta or crapiata, a rustic native multi-bean soup named for the Latin word for drunkenness! Top off the meal with a ricotta mousse with flecks of hazelnut and chocolate. This is Lucanian dining at its purest.

After, walk to the Belvedere, or lookout. This is where the crucifixion scene was shot in the Passion of the Christ, and it provides a spectacular view of Matera and the adjacent plunging ravine. After time to take in this dramatic vista, retrace your steps to Murgia Timone, where you can get a lift to the hotel. Or continue to your accommodation by foot, crossing the famed Ponte Tibetano, the Tibetan Bridge, a thrilling board-and-rope span across the Gravina River.

Soon, you are surrounded by the striking landscape of Matera. This is the Sassi (literally, “the Stones”) a dense cluster of yellow-white structures that seem to emerge from the earth. Within this starkly beautiful canvas, you walk among typical dwellings, soaring cathedrals, and cavernous edifices. It’s easy to see how it became a stand-in for ancient Jerusalem in the film The Passion of the Christ.

After settling in to your luxury Matera hotel – an albergo diffuso spread out across several cave dwellings carved into the tuff rock – get acquainted with the city during a walking tour with a local guide. This remarkable city is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, a fascinating blend of old and new. Its labyrinthine streets lead you past ancient stone sassi structures and modern buildings. Stroll through the charming Piazza Duomo, admiring modest dwellings and monumental landmarks, including the cathedral of San Pietro Caveoso and the 13th-century Romanesque cathedral. As you explore you learn about the lifestyle of the former cave residents, such as the “open door” attitude that extended a welcome to all. Courtyards and a maze of alleyways lead to the cathedral, from where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Sasso Barisano.

Back at the hotel, enjoy a welcome aperitivo on the terrace, taking in the sassi’s incomparable architectural profile. Then savor a special seasonal dinner and a glass or two of the native primitivo wine.

Accommodation: Sant’Angelo Luxury Resort, Matera
Included Meals: Lunch, Dinner

2 miles, easy to moderate, 620-ft. elevation gain and loss and 2.5 miles, moderate, 1,000-ft. elevation gain and 450-ft. loss

Awaken to a generous breakfast of cheeses and other local delicacies, an assortment of yogurts, cereals, juices, fresh-baked breads and pastries, fruit, and, of course, cappuccino!

After a brief walk through the maze of alleyways of Matera, you arrive in the town center where you begin a scenic drive to the Dolomiti Lucane – the southern Dolomites. Amidst this otherworldly setting, you first stop in Castelmezzano. Listed as one of Italy’s most beautiful hamlets, it enjoys a dramatic setting, wedged in a cradle-like basin at the foot of soaring, needle-like massifs. Here, you trace an easygoing circuit around this typical medieval village. Magnificent mountain views accompany you throughout this unforgettable walk.

Make your way to the panoramic terrace of our friend and accomplished chef/restaurateur Antonietta. Antonietta embraces fresh, regional ingredients and the local wild harvest of herbs in her preparations, all inspired by her two muses: her mother and her grandmother. Depending on what’s fresh, you might savor homemade cavatelli pasta with crispy-fried peppers (peperoni cruschi) or local cardoncelli mushrooms. No matter what’s in season, your lunch will be a meal to remember—regional dishes served alfresco and accompanied by grandiose mountain views and perhaps a glass of delicious ficotto, or fig wine.

This afternoon, you follow the Sentiero delle Sette Pietre, the Trail of Seven Stones. This ancient shepherd path links Castelmezzano to its neighboring village across the ravine, Pietrapertosa, requiring a descent and ascent as you make your way to the highest town in Basilicata. Along the way, you pass seven outdoor art exhibits that evoke the magic of this unique region.

A cold birra alla spina (draft beer) or bicchieri di vino bianco might be your drink of choice to reward your efforts at a local café. There’ll be time to explore Pietrapertosa, navigating the stairways that wind their way past medieval houses and to the hilltop castle. Later, you return to Matera to enjoy an evening of independent exploring and dining with recommendations from your guides.

Accommodation: Sant’Angelo Luxury Resort, Matera
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

5 miles, easy

Today you leave the cultural richness of Matera behind and travel to the lush Valle d’Itria in central Puglia. Blanketed with vineyards and olive groves, the valley is dotted with hundreds of trulli, curious stone structures used by Apulian farmers of centuries past. The buildings feature circular, whitewashed walls and cone-shaped roofs; they were originally constructed without mortar so as to make the structures temporary (an ancient tax loophole!). These “beehives” compel close examination—notably, look for the Paleo-Christian good-luck symbols painted on the roofs.

You reach your trailhead near the 6th-century church of San Pietro in Barsento, a neighboring town of Alberobello. A picturesque walk leads through green pastures, woodland, and along country lanes flanked by stone walls and seemingly endless olive groves and trulli. Soon, you arrive in the village of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage site whose streets are literally packed with trulli. One of these historic beehive buildings has been transformed into an inviting enoteca; you stop by to meet Gino, who offers a wine tasting, freshly baked focaccia, and some traditional Apulian snacks.

Lunch is on your own in this fairy-tale town; your guides will orient you to the layout before you explore. Perhaps head to Piazza del Popolo, or People’s Square, to sample a plate of the region’s homemade orecchiette pasta with turnip tops. While here, it’s worthwhile to seek out the town’s hand-woven linens, filet lace, and ceramics at the charming artisanal boutiques. You might also visit the church of St. Anthony, which shares the trulli architectural aesthetic.

After, you journey to the “white city” of Ostuni, so nicknamed for its whitewashed buildings. After settling in to your hotel, step out with your guides for an aperitivo and an introduction to this hilltop town overlooking the Adriatic. For dinner on your own, perhaps dine at one of their favorite osterias along the route. Or, enjoy a relaxing late afternoon at the hotel’s spa, followed by dinner at the hotel’s bistrot.

Accommodation: Ostuni Palace, Ostuni
Included Meals: Breakfast

5 miles, easy

This morning, take some time to linger over a leisurely breakfast. There’ll be time to step out and explore Ostuni’s captivating medieval center, admiring its largest buildings: the dramatic 15th-century Ostuni Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace. Other palazzi stand as legacies to an array of aristocratic families that have made their mark on the town. Perhaps find some locally crafted ceramics as mementoes.

Departing mid-morning, you travel south toward the medieval port of Otranto, your home for the next three nights. En route, stop at an estate near Uggiano la Chiesa in a peaceful oasis blanketed by olive groves and Mediterranean macchia, or scrub. Visit the award-winning passion project of sisters Giulia and Lucia Starace. Here, a team of dedicated weavers work to keep textile arts alive in the 21st century by educating local children about a traditional craft and responsible culture. While here, you walk past bushes of myrtle, holm oaks, wild orchids and one of the oldest beehives in the region. Enjoy a demonstration at the weaving cooperative, recently tapped to contribute to the cruise collection of Parisian fashion house Dior. After, delight in a delicious lunch on the grounds of this pretty estate.

Depart on foot for an easy afternoon walk into the Bronze Age. Your destination is Italy’s megalithic garden in and around neighboring Giurdignano. Home to more than 25 standing-stone menhir and dolmen, the site provides remarkable insight into an often forgotten past. Continue your exploration with a visit to an underground olive mill, built in the 16th century, and the 8th-century crypt of San Salvatore, adorned with remarkably preserved 13th-century frescoes.

Your walk culminates at a beautiful whitewashed masseria just outside Otranto, Enjoy an aperitivo upon arrival, accompanied by typical Salentino snacks. Dinner is on your own this evening; a shuttle is provided into town or you may opt to dine in the masseria’s restaurant.

Accommodation: Masseria Muntibianchi, Otranto
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

8 miles, easy to moderate, 560-ft elevation gain and 550-ft elevation loss

After another hearty breakfast, you travel to Otranto’s harbor and the trailhead for today’s exploration. Italy’s easternmost city, Otranto enjoys a scenic location on the Strait of Otranto, which connects the Adriatic and Ionian seas. Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans and Aragonese have all called this port their own and left their marks on this remarkable city.

This morning’s walking route follows the rocky shores of the Adriatic past rugged coves and caves. Along these coastal cliffs, your progress is marked by the region’s aromatic Mediterranean macchia shrubs and ancient watchtowers – evidence of the defenses erected against Turkish invasions. The stark rocky landscape along the sparkling sea delivers you to a fascinating abandoned bauxite quarry. The stone mined here was once ferried as far away as Venice for construction of that once-great republic. Today, the quarry resembles a lake in a deep basin of deep-red walls – hence its local name, Red Lake.

You continue your walk to the whitewashed Punta Palascia lighthouse, arriving in time for lunch. A picnic spread of local delicacies awaits you in this scenic locale. Savor pizza rustica, frittata, local cheeses like caciocavallo, fresh fruit, and local almond sweets in your gorgeous seaside “dining room.”

After, continue on foot or by minibus to Porto Badisco, a charming bay whose clear turquoise waters and white-sand floor invite you for a swim. Virgil famously claimed that this sheltered beach was the site of Aeneas’s first landing after he escaped from Troy.

We return to our masseria, where there’ll be time to relax poolside or treat yourself to a massage before dinner at a nearby osteria. This is a true farm-to-table alfresco experience, and sure to be a highlight of your adventure. The chef here emphasizes the wild herbs of Puglia in dishes such as chicory and fava beans, eggplant parmigiana, and fettucine with shallots and pork cheek. For dessert, you might enjoy lemon mousse with mint and licorice. It’s all complemented by a generous selection of local wines, perhaps bianco verdeca or the deep-red native primitivo.

Accommodation: Masseria Muntibianchi, Otranto
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

2 miles, easy to moderate and 5 miles, easy to moderate, 530-ft. elevation loss

On today’s walk, you trace routes of historical and environmental importance through the Regional Natural Coastal Park of Costa Otranto Santa Maria di Leuca Bosco di Tricase. After breakfast, journey to Marina di Novaglie to begin your uniquely rewarding day. As you begin, you follow a trail along the sea, passing the typical Salento pajare along the way. These dry-stone structures, like the trulli of Alberobello, might have had their origins as temporary shelters, agricultural storehouses, or dwellings for farm workers.

Your morning destination is Ponte Ciolo, or Ciolo’s Bridge. The town may have been named for the Salentino dialect ciole, or magpies, which are ubiquitous in the region. Several botanical rarities – from Mediterranean onion species to ferns, flowers and several types of orchids – call this scenic place home, too. Ponte Ciolo gracefully straddles a narrow coastal inlet that has carved out numerous sea caves. Fossils, including those of rhinoceros, and ceramics dating to the Neolithic and the Paleolithic periods, have been found in these remarkable grottoes. You have the option to venture down into the Grotta delle Cipolliane. Though the excursion is not for everyone – it requires negotiating rocks and numerous steps – your effort will be rewarded by being able to dip your toes in the sea. During your time in this scenic enclave, enjoy a break to relax and swim if you wish. There’ll be time for a simple lunch on your own.

Two options await after lunch. You may journey to Santa Maria di Leuca to view the spot where the Adriatic and Ionian seas swirl together. Or continue on foot along the southernmost section of the Via Francigena to Leuca. This ancient pilgrim’s route (it translates into “the road from France”) stretches from Canterbury, England to Rome, then continues to Puglia, where pilgrims once continued to the Holy Land by boat. Centuries of other visitors – including traders, pirates, and invaders – have also shaped the history and culture of Capo di Leuca. Upon arrival, you can visit an important religious sanctuary above the town’s harbor – the Basilica de Finibus Terrae, which translates to “basilica at the end of the earth,” an apt term for this seaside outpost at the end of the empire. Back at your masseria, there’ll be time to relax before the evening meal.

For your final dinner together, you are welcomed at the hotel’s alfresco restaurant with a glass of sparkling prosecco. Settle in for a memorable meal that features the seasonal bounty of the region. Your first course, or primo piatto, may be a creamy troccoli, a pasta with cuttlefish and black chickpea cream, or risotto with violet shrimp of Gallipoli, pistachios, and pesto, perhaps followed by the catch of the day grilled to perfection. It’s the ideal way to toast your discovery of the beauty and magic of Basilicata and Puglia.

Accommodation: Masseria Muntibianchi, Otranto
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Departing shortly after breakfast, you stop in the port of Otranto for an hour-long walking tour with your guide. This stunning coastal city boasts a spectacular waterfront and a fascinating medieval past. The city’s highlight is Otranto Cathedral’s enormous, 8,611-square-foot floor mosaic representing the Tree of Life, created by a monk in 1163. Afterward, enjoy free time to explore local craft studios selling clay whistles, baskets, hand-dyed fabric, and ceramics. Then travel to an organic farm and receive a warm welcome from the owner Lina. Her “Estate of the Five Saints” produces several of the region’s cheeses—ricotta, stracchino, burrata, caciocavallo, and others. See how mozzarella is made during a demonstration, then savor a lunch of pasta and a few of their cheeses, complemented by a glass of crisp white wine.

Journey finally to Lecce, the “Florence of the South,” where you tour concludes. Bid farewell to your Country Walkers guides at the Patria Palace Hotel by 2:00 p.m.

Accommodation: Patria Palace Hotel, Lecce
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodations

Linger Longer with a Tour Extension

Patria Palace Hotel Lecce 3
Pre-Tour
Flight + Tour Combo Only
2022

2022 Pre-Tour Extension - Monopoli

  • One night at the Dimora Don Ferrante
  • Airport car service for arrival
  • Daily breakfast
  • City information

1 Night From $198
per person, double occupancy

Single Supplement: From $148

All you have to do is get to the airport. On our Flight + Tour Combos, we’ll take care of the rest, handling all the logistics, so you can travel with peace of mind. Spend your first night aloft and arrive refreshed for an unforgettable trip.

A Country Walkers representative will greet you at the airport to start your adventure off right. A complimentary car service will whisk you to your conveniently located hotel in Monopoli. From here, you are perfectly positioned to explore this charming city at your leisure.

Accommodation: Dimora Don Ferrante, Monopoli, Italy

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Accommodation: Dimora Don Ferrante, Monopoli, Italy
Included Meals: Breakfast

Aragonese Castle of Otranto in Italy
Post-Tour
Flight + Tour Combo Only
2022

2022 Post-Tour Extension - Lecce

  • One night at the Patria Palace Hotel
  • Airport car service for departure
  • Daily breakfast
  • City information

1 Night From $148
per person, double occupancy

Single Supplement: From $48

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries. The Basilica di Santa Croce, its façade festooned with sculptures of saints, demons and creatures, is right outside your door. Enjoy a leisurely day of strolling past a profusion of Baroque-era palazzi and churches and ducking into intimate cucinas for a meal of delicious Apulian cuisine.

Accommodation: Patria Palace Hotel, Lecce
Included Meals: Breakfast

After an included breakfast this morning, complimentary transportation is provided to Brindisi International Airport based on your departure time.

Accommodation: Patria Palace Hotel, Lecce
Included Meals: Breakfast

What's Included

Flight + Tour Combo
Tour Only
Exceptional boutique accommodations Check Check
14 on-tour meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 3 dinners Check Check
Local guides with you throughout tour Check Check
Local wine and/or beer with dinner Check Check
Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary Check Check
Travel assistance available 24/7 provided by Allianz Global Assistance Check Check
Telescopic walking sticks provided on tour Check Check
Roundtrip airfare Check
One extra night in Monopoli and one extra night in Lecce Check
Airport car service for arrival & departure Check
Pre- and post-tour breakfasts Check
Business-class upgrades available Check
Morocco: Marrakesh, Foothills of the High Atlas & Essaouira

Dates & Prices

Flight + Tour Combo

10 days. Includes round-trip international airfare, airport car service, additional hotel nights with included breakfast, and your tour.

Single Supplement: From $948

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

Tour Only

7 days. Includes your tour only.

Call Required

Sun, May 8 - Tue, May 17, 2022

$5,598

Request a Call
Call Required

Tue, May 10 - Mon, May 16, 2022

$4,598

Request a Call
Limited Spaces Left

Sun, May 22 - Tue, May 31, 2022

$5,598

Reserve Online
Limited Spaces Left

Tue, May 24 - Mon, May 30, 2022

$4,598

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Sun, Sep 11 - Tue, Sep 20, 2022

$5,598

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Tue, Sep 13 - Mon, Sep 19, 2022

$4,598

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Sun, Sep 25 - Tue, Oct 4, 2022

$5,598

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Tue, Sep 27 - Mon, Oct 3, 2022

$4,598

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Sun, Oct 2 - Tue, Oct 11, 2022

$5,598

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Tue, Oct 4 - Mon, Oct 10, 2022

$4,598

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Sun, Oct 9 - Tue, Oct 18, 2022

$5,398

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Tue, Oct 11 - Mon, Oct 17, 2022

$4,398

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